Employee learning and development is one of those things that’s perpetually going on in any working environment with a hierarchy. Most often associate it with actual declared and scheduled training sessions (something often met with audible sighs). However, any environment with leadership and group dynamics involves the constant shifting of ways of thinking and perspective in order for people to react and learn.
As a leader, any guidance you provide to your employees is a form of employee learning and development, as are all interactions between them as they coordinate and evolve to perform tasks and solve problems. So, considering it’s so heavily present in business life, I figured I’d give you a few really good ideas to make this go smoothly. Not only is this stuff great for actual full on training sessions, but a lighter implementation of this in daily business environments will also do wonders for your business.
First, let’s talk about social interaction. You know, all of those team and group meetings and crunch sessions that most business people deal with weekly can be made far more productive and far more pleasant with minimal expense. If you’re having a meeting, a lunch meeting at someplace nice is a good touch. For get togethers of teams and units, it’s best to do these on a Friday, when everyone’s in a good mood, and make it a light atmosphere. Have food, beverages, and an open discussion environment. This applies to training sessions as well.
Next, let’s talk about grading/success scales, because traditional ones are counterproductive. In training and leadership, you need to make sure your subordinates don’t feel degraded by initial failure. Failure is a part of life, and necessary for learning, so failure in the shadow of honest effort should be treated delicately and optimistically. So, avoid grading scales and just work out proficiency levels that are rewarded, but not punished for taking too long to reach, within reason. This works great for gamification, speaking of which …
Gamification is not being taken completely seriously. Yet recently, it has gone from a quasi-theoretical idea to a legitimate, published method of ensuring engagement and effectiveness with a training or working scenario.
When training and work are made into a game, it is far less oppressive, and incentives in employees are higher due to their gamer mentality being stimulated. It also lightens the atmosphere and encourages group efforts and team work, as well as the formation of social bonds and dynamics that increase efficiency and effectiveness for all involved.
There are some other minor things you can do to improve your employee learning and development approaches as well, but they’re minimal tweaks. These are things like good time planning, avoiding incursion into employee free time, and leadership relationship. Well, leadership relationship isn’t minor, but it’s a whole other ball of wax to discuss at another time, to be frank.
In the future, we can only hope more wise thinkers and skilled business scientists and sociologists can work out more ways that we can make training and any working system more effective but also more pleasant for those required to partake of it.